Berlin Wall Art Installations, 1961 and Why Art Matters

I was born in 1961. At about 10 weeks shy of my birth, the Berlin Wall was under construction in Germany. Whoa! It’s a connection by heritage for me, considering I’m part German. I’ve never been, although I’ve heard for years how inspiring and vibrant Berlin is for artists and culture. My friend Finbarr has lived there. Maybe someday I’ll get the grand tour with him. While Berlin’s thousands of miles away, it’s angst–ridden former divide now offers hope, even to those who weren’t there when the wall was torn down. Like a phoenix rising from the ash, sections from the disquieting walls have been reborn as slabs of historically significant art. In the end, following the aftermath of late 1989, evidence still stands in stark contrast to a once–divided city. The striking architectural divergence between east and west, old and new, grungy and shiny is self–evident. In a way, it’s symbolic of the road we trek in our own lives between art and commerce. It’s never quite easy. Today, those sections are scattered throughout the world in art installations. They stand with a renewed spirit, as a testament to the power art holds in us, transcending mere boundaries of time and place. Even if we weren’t there in Berlin, its art resonates with us, and it still matters. These various installations represent both an artful repurposing and a mournful vision from a dark period in human history.

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